Science has no use for crystal balls or Tarot Cards
Mathemagix: the 'science' of prophecy One of the activities that the mathemagicians most boast about are predictions. They absolutely love doing predictions and telling you what their theories predict. The mathemagician equates the ability to predict with the truthfulness or correctness of his theory. In the religion of Mathemagics, you barely have a theory to propose if it can't make a prediction. And if your prediction comes true, the theory somehow becomes a fact and you get the Nobel Prize in Mathemagix. I grew up with the apparently misleading impression that predicting and prophesying were hallmarks of traditional religions, buried in the past together with astrologers and palm readers. It used to be biblical prophets, alchemists and charlatans who did predictions. Yet, today you will often hear a mathemagician ask you what your theory predicts. This is quite an eyebrow raiser. You wonder what such deranged individuals were taught in schools and colleges. What does prophesying have to do with Science? The issue becomes even more perplexing when you read some of the weirdest nonsense coming out of academia, for example: .........."In the early Universe, the physics to predict the behavior of matter is determined ...........by which forces are unified..." .........."It has become possible to make accurate predictions for the formation and ...........nonlinear growth of structure from early to the present epochs. We review ...........recent progress in the theory of structure formation in the universe." Huh??? How is it possible to prophesy the structure of the early Universe? How do you foretell the past? What are these loonies talking about? Predicting the past So let's make it absolutely clear from the start. In Science, we don't make predictions! Foretelling is the bread and butter of popular religions such as Astrology and Palm Reading and Mathemagix. There is no place in Science for divination. This sweeping comment may shock many readers because they are very much used to hearing that 'science' is about making predictions. It has been driven into them and reinforced over and over again by their teachers, professors, and instructors. Actually, no one has ever bothered to analyze what the mathemagicians are saying. So we will do it here. The mathemagicians want you to believe that they can prove their theory -- their explanation for a phenomenon -- by running an experiment. If the experiment or observation turns out as predicted, it goes a long way into proving that their theory was correct. If someone else, independently, can reproduce their results, we have confirmation. The theory becomes a fact and the mathemagician collects a Nobel Medal. That's what everyone has been led to believe in school. Does this process make any sense? Or does it ridicule Science? Confusing predictions with explanations What is really happening is that the so-called prediction is nothing of the kind. Firstly, in Science, we do not do experiments. In Science, we explain them! But let's turn a blind eye to this argument and concede that experimentation is an activity of Science to look at the matter in light most favorable to the mathemagicians. If the horse you bet on wins the race, your prediction obviously came true. There is no argument. There can be no disagreement. The loser must pay up. Now I ask you to tell me WHY your horse won the race. If you can tell me WHY, you are giving me an EXPLANATION. This is odd and quite disturbing. There is something wrong. Predict, we at best predict the future. Explain, we can at best explain the past. If you can explain WHY (the physical cause) your horse won the race, the entire matter was divorced from the future. You never predicted anything. You 'knew' in advance that your horse was going to win because you can explain the cause. Perhaps you were aware that your horse had an unfair advantage or you planned to shoot my horse during the race, in which case your candidate would be the sole animal to cross the finish line. The point is that if you can explain WHY (cause) you are NOT talking about the future. You are not predicting anything. You are explaining a consummated event. You are talking about something that already happened. But how can this be if the race was not finished? Where is the contradiction? How is it possible to predict that there is going to be an eclipse tomorrow at 2 o'clock or that an asteroid is going to strike the Moon if neither event has happened yet? The secret is that we have already seen these events in the past and now we are VISUALIZING them, running them in our minds, much like watching a movie again. We 'know' what is going to happen because we have already seen the movie sometime in our lives. The mathemagician pulls out his slide rule and abacus and calculates an itinerary. All he is doing now is DESCRIBING the path step by step, location by location, with an equation. Mathematics is exclusively a descriptive language. Math has no power or authority to explain, and this is the reason the mathemagicians have popularized the misleading notion that Math is the language of 'science'. Mathemagix only describes. And this is the reason we have no explanations today. We will never be able to EXPLAIN how the Universe works as long as we try to do it with equations and variables. The mathemagician next narrates what is going to happen. That is what a prediction is: nothing but a description: .........."There will be an eclipse tomorrow at 2 o'clock." What has he explained? So far, absolutely nothing! He has merely recited what he thinks is supposed to happen based on his PAST experience. If he can tell you WHY such and such will be the outcome, he is now referring NOT to the event that is going to happen, but rather to the event he stores in his memory. He is drawing on his experience. He is visualizing the physical event in his mind. The only reason he can tell you WHY there is going to be an eclipse tomorrow is that he has seen or read about this event many times in the past. He 'knows' in advance that the Moon is going to block the Sun. He's seen the movie countless times. This part of his 'prediction' is not a prediction at all. His calculation of the path is merely a description. He hasn't explained anything yet. He simply described what is going to happen. Let's put this claim to the test to make sure we understand what we are pondering. The cocky mathemagician predicts that there will be an eclipse tomorrow at 2 o'clock. He 'knows' this from past experiences and from the calculation of the path. It turns out that his prediction doesn't materialize. Just when the Moon is about to blot out the Sun, an asteroid that the mathemagician wasn't aware of collides with the Moon and disintegrates it. Or worse. The asteroid collides with the Earth and nobody collects on the bet. The mathemagician was clearly GUESSING! He did not 'know' for sure that there was going to be an eclipse because he was not aware of all the variables and determinants involved. He merely speculated. If he survives the crash, the mathemagician would be able to EXPLAIN in retrospect WHY the eclipse did not take place. Predictions are descriptions The reason predictions are NOT a part of Science is that they are mere descriptions and descriptions are not a part of Science! Anyone can describe and say that an eclipse is going to happen tomorrow or that Halley's Comet is going to appear in such and such date. All he has to do is read up on a bit of history and make some calculations if he has a mathematical inclination. This is mere recitation, regurgitation, poetry, memorization. Science is about understanding a process and being able to explain causes in your own words. Anyone can describe what the magician did on stage: "He pulled a rabbit out of the hat." The trick is to explain how he did the trick. That's Science! That's where you have to use your brain.